Zipper Pockets! {A Tutorial}

ChristyNeedlecrafts, Sewing, Tutorials1 Comment

Remember back in September when I made this bag for my sister? My sister gets tons of compliments on it, as she should. A few weeks ago a couple of those compliments turned into requests. (FYI, you too can request this bag just by visiting my Etsy Shop! Christmas is coming, hint hint!)

So last week I made 2 more of these bags, but I was asked to add extra interior pockets. I decided to do one better and add zipper pockets. I’d never done a zipper pocket before, so I took to the internet to find out how. There are a lot of tutorials out there, but that’s not going to stop me from writing another. I do think this is the fastest and simplest method, and I read a lot of tutorials before I got started.

The only extra supplies you need for this are (duh!) a zipper and 2 extra squares of fabric. Size will obviously depend on the bag, but for this one I used a 7 inch zipper and 10 inch fabric squares (the finished pockets were closer to 8-inches square, though, so I could have used slightly less fabric here). Constructing the pocket should basically be your first step, then you can just follow your pattern as if you’re using the plain, un-zipper-pocketed lining piece it calls for.

First, on the wrong side of one of your pocket squares, draw a rectangle no longer than your zipper (7 inches in my case) and just slightly less than a half-inch wide (a half-inch is fine, but I think it looks neater when the fabric is closer to the zipper–you just don’t want it so close it will get stuck).

The rectangle should be about an inch and a half from the top of the fabric so that you have plenty of space to sew on the back of the pocket without hitting the zipper.

Next, pin the square to your lining piece wherever you want the pocket to go. Generally, this would be centered horizontally, and 2-4 inches inches from the top of the bag (if your bag will have a button closure, make sure to leave space for it above the zipper), but I suppose if you want your pocket to be diagonal or vertical or whatever you can do that.

Now sew around the rectangle.

Next, draw a line through the middle of your rectangle. About a half inch from each end, draw little lines diagonally from the center line (like a Y) to the sewn corners. This is your cut line.

Using sharp, fine pointed scissors or a seam ripper, carefully cut through both layers of fabric along these lines. When you’re cutting the corner lines, be very careful to snip right up to the thread without cutting through it.

Now turn the pocket wrong sides together by feeding the pocket fabric right through the hole you just created.

Press carefully so that you have a nice even pocket opening.

It’s time to place your zipper. With it fully closed, position it in the opening so that the pull is right against one end. It’s okay if your zipper is longer than your pocket, you can just cut the end off once it’s all sewn together.

This is where I should confess that I hate pinning. Most of the tutorials I read recommended carefully pinning all the way around the zipper so you know it’s positioned right. But here’s my problem with that: every pin leaves a little crimp in the fabric, and I find I can sew much straighter when my fabric is perfectly flat. So I use only one pin at each end to position my zipper, then I sew very slowly to make sure everything stays in place as I go. It’s much easier this way, I swear.

Start at one corner and sew all the way around the rectangle with a very narrow seam allowance. I didn’t bother with a zipper foot for this, I found it easiest to sew with the zipper to the left of my regular foot, with the needle in the far left position. Keep the zipper closed until about an inch from the end, then open it slightly so the zipper head doesn’t get in the way while you turn the corners. You can close it again once you get about 2 inches down the bottom side.

Once the zipper is in, the front and back of your lining should look like the pictures above.

Now all that’s left is to turn this thing into an actual pocket. Take your second square of fabric and place it over your first, right sides together.

Now fold the top of your purse lining fabric out of the way so you’re only sewing through the 2 pocket layers, and sew about an inch above the zipper. pivot when you’re about half an inch past the end of the zipper, and continue around the square.

Pink the edges, and you’re done!

I hope you found this tutorial helpful. If you like it, please do me a favor and Pin it!

One Comment on “Zipper Pockets! {A Tutorial}”

  1. Gale W.

    I just found your tutorial and just finished my first inside zippered pocket! You made it look so simple and it was! Thank you so much. Oh the fun I;m gonna have now. Thank you!!!

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